When The Stiletto was but a little penknife, a family member who was a young child duringÂ WWII recountedÂ how easily the locals could pick out American spies: When an Americans eats, (s)heÂ holds the fork in the left handÂ and theÂ knifeÂ in the right hands while cutting food, thenÂ puts the knife down and switches the fork to the right hand and eats withÂ the tines facing up. EuropeansÂ keep the fork in their left hands – with the tines facing down -Â and push foodÂ onto the fork withÂ aÂ knife that is kept in the right hand. Â
Not yet knowing what she wanted to be when she grew up – and not wanting to preclude herself from spycraft because of how she wielded her fork and knife – The Stiletto immediatelyÂ began practicingÂ the European style of utensil handling, and in the process discovered she is ambidextrous.Â
This blast from The Stiletto’s past was provoked by an article in The Washington Post that notes an odd fact: Five of our seven most recent presidents – and both 2008 contenders â€“ were born lefties. Â
But thisÂ section on how Obama eats was revealing, because while the candidate assiduously avoids discussing his upbringing in Indonesia it offers some evidence he was raised in accordance withÂ the Hadith – the Prophet Mohammad’s commentary on, and interpretation of, the Koran:Â
In Indonesia, where Obama spent four years as a child, travel guides warn visitors not to use their left hands (it’s considered rude), particularly when touching food or drink. This might explain why the candidate uses his right hand to eat finger food but his left to eat with utensils.Â
Um, not quite. The Hadith -Â as much a how-to manual forÂ daily lifeÂ asÂ an exhortation to wage jihad against infidels until they convert -Â instructs the faithful that the left hand is to be reserved for “unclean” tasks such asÂ cleansing afterÂ excretion,Â because Mohammad believed Satan to beÂ left-handed. Thus, no Muslim would ever use the left hand both to wipe (or otherwise clean) his or her ass and to eat,Â especially as in many Muslim countries food isÂ often eaten by hand -Â a lavash-style bread is used to scoop up a stew-like main dishÂ set in the middle of the table for everyone to share. Â
While it may well beÂ considered â€œrudeâ€ to contaminate a communal bowl or platter by using your left hand to eat from it, as Muslims Indonesians also consider it blasphemous because Mohammad instructs it is haram (forbidden).Â
This article was written by Melissa Roth,Â author of The Left Stuff: How the Left-Handed Have Survived and Thrived in a Right-Handed World - who presumably should know why Muslims never eat with their left hands. So either she deliberately omitted the information about it being haram, or the WaPo staffer who edited her piece excised it. Which is as revealing as which hand Obama uses when he eats finger food.Â
BTW: Muslims consider dogs â€œuncleanâ€ and profess to be â€œinsultedâ€ at the mere sight of one â€“ even a photograph, if this account from the UK is to be believed. As it happens, the Obamas do not own a dog â€“ the McCains own 24 pets, including four dogs – but the presumptive Dem nominee has let it be known that he promised daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, a dog after the election, explaining that they hadnâ€™t had a dog before â€œbecause of allergiesâ€ (it is unclear which member of the Obama household has the hypersensitivity to canines). Hmmm. A suspicious person might wonder whether Obamaâ€™s sudden interest in dogs is kinda sorta like Gov. Charlie Christâ€™s (R-FL) sudden interest in getting married. Good thing The Stiletto is not a suspicious person.
Note: The Stiletto writes about politics and other stuff at The Stiletto Blog, chosen an Official Honoree in the Political Blogs category by the judges of the 12th Annual Webby Awards (the Oscars of the online universe) along with CNN Political Ticker, Swampland (Time magazine) and The Caucus (The New York Times).